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  #1  
Old 03-15-2011
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NOAA Booklet Charts. Free and very handy!

I downloaded some booklet charts from this site:
BookletChart™ (Experimental)
I printed chart #18649 (Entrance to SF Bay). Printed it in color off my laptop at Kinkos (I don't have a color printer). It prints on single sided 8.5 X 11 pages with numbers that relate to a "Approximate page index" which shows a reduced version of the entire chart. I'm not exactly a "Techie" so it's not difficult. I bought a plastic binder at Kinkos which stores the chart pages in clear enclosure pages. I put the chart pages back to back in the clear enclosure pages, according to ascending index number. I put the "index page" in the front of the book (this is key to the system). I've used it several times, and it is extremely handy. I find the area I want to look at on the index (cover page of the binder). Find the page number, and go to it. The page tells me everything I need to know about a fairly large (Approximately 36 square nautical mile) area. The binder keeps the pages dry, and I don't have a big chart unrolled in the cockpit, or on the table . Would I use it for long range navigation? No. However, in the bay or along the Coast, I find it invaluable! Including the binder, the whole thing cost less than $15 (and I assume most people have a color printer by now!). Pictures are of the index and two pages in the binder.
This is a duplicate of a post I did in a Cruising thread. However I thought the booklet charts are important enough to warrant their own thread in the General Sailing Forum (I also added pictures)
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NOAA Booklet Charts. Free and very handy!-0315111449.jpg   NOAA Booklet Charts. Free and very handy!-0315111450.jpg  

Last edited by L124C; 03-15-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 03-15-2011
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MOASTVS AWESOMVS!!

Thank you very much!
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Old 03-15-2011
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very cool.

Now if we could just convince the Canadian Hydrographic Service to do the same. Shouldn't that be covered under NAFTA?
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Old 03-15-2011
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We can't even get them to post the charts for free.... I can't see a user friendly format coming from them anytime soon.
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Old 03-15-2011
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Definitely a good idea for daysailing.
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Old 03-15-2011
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Canadian charts and maps are expensive. I see electronic charts are available for the US free of charge in several formats but you pay through the nose for BC charts. I recently bought a Lowrance Elite 5 GPS/Sonar that came loaded with maps of west coast from Mexico to Alaska including BC. I thought it a great buy at the boat show for $550. Almost like getting the unit for free
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Old 03-15-2011
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I wouldn't call them free because it requires a lot of color ink and paper to print all those pages.
I found those booklet charts a couple years ago and then looked up the Pacific Northwest which comes in two volumes. (Puget Sound & Georgia Srait)I spent a lot of time and ink printing them from a color laser printer. I also got a plastic binder (two) to protect them but one binder got wet anyway and I only just finished drying all the pages (couple hundred). Fortunately the laser ink did not run or blemish so charts are intact but a bit bulkier from being wet. In hindsight I wish I had a better binder or kept them in a drier place. Also wished I had used a more expensive paper than regular photocopy paper, perhaps a magazine stock which of course would increase the cost but if you are going to the trouble of printing those charts it may be a good idea to use a laser printer with good quality paper. Each section can be 20 or more pages and it takes 12 sections for a region as shows in the picture at the top, that is a lot of printing, especially if your area is two regions like the PNW. Nice charts though!
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Old 03-15-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptKermie View Post
I wouldn't call them free because it requires a lot of color ink and paper to print all those pages.
They were also produced with our tax money. We've already paid for them.
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Old 03-15-2011
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Yeah...I guess I should have titled the thread "Really inexpensive charts (unless you are a taxpayer), which are handy unless it's blowing 30 knots and your cockpit is awash (in which case, I would suggest reading them (and any chart for that matter) in the salon!)" I'll be more articulate with my title next time!
Actually, the downloads (which are usable on a laptop) ARE free (unless you are a taxpayer). However, if you want to print them, there is a small cost (as I indicated in my OP).
WARNING: Using a laptop in the cockpit in heavy weather may affect it's life span.

Last edited by L124C; 03-15-2011 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 03-16-2011
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The booklet charts are great. They are small enough to handle easily at the helm. If you single hand in areas somewhat restricted by traffic or hazards, you really can't afford to go below to work with a large chart at the navigation desk. In my view, the booklet charts are a lot cheaper to replace than a ful size chart. A couple of suggestions: put each page in a clear vinyl sheet protector and slide the paper in from the bottom. That will limit water access to the paper from rain or splash. Second, keep two books. A big one for all the booklet charts you have on board down below where it is dry. A second one, or clip board to which you attach only the charts that you will be using at the helm...take care to make sure you have at least one with the scale and compass rose on it (all pages of a given chart are to the same scale and orientation so you can measure bearing and distance on one page and transfer it to a second page of the same chart using the long. and lat. grid lines for alignment). With a single arm protractor and handheld bearing compass, you can even get a position fix. Use "post it" sticky arrows to stick on the sheet protector to mark your position since they are difficult to write on. Similarily, you can use chart to plot GPS position fixes also. Now if you get charts in cockpit wet, you have only a few pages to replace. For my boat, I made a small plexiglas board with notebook rings on the edges so I can add or remove pages as needed. I used plastic tiller clips fastened to the bottom of the plexiglas and can snap the plexiglas board to the binnacle guard so that I have a ready reference at all times. Even if you have a fancy, expensive electronic chart plotter, I believe the booklet charts will be useful to get a quick overview of the situation without switching back and forth on plotter scale screens (I've read numerous times of people relying too much on the plotter display which, depending on the scale of the screen being used, does not always show the hazards in your path. I read of one case where the plotter would have put the boat 400 ft. ashore when it indicated safe water. Not dissing chartplotters...I wish I had one, but a handy, dandy paper reference in the cockpit is.......well handy, dandy.

Last edited by NCC320; 03-16-2011 at 09:32 AM.
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